Hello, my name is Mark and I build education programmes and technology for sustainability projects worldwide and work to develop circus training in Scotland.
I've always loved technology, from my first lessons at school working in media to starting an apprenticeship in telecommunications in the 1980's. I've continued to work in the telecommunications sector ever since. I've evolved from maintaining and installing communications technology to teaching others about it. I've set up training companies, consulted in technology training and worked with large telecom organisations in learning.
I now develop digital learning, education technology and learning games for a global telecommunications vendor and along with a great team of people I am developing social education projects as part of Connect to Learn.
In parallel with a career in technology I've developed a passion for arts which require extreme levels of physicality. It began in the 1980's with what has so far proven to be a life long study of Chinese martial arts. Within a few years of daily training I gained instructor qualifications and black belts in a number of different arts and taught as part of a large organisation in the UK. From 2000 onwards I discovered the world of contemporary circus and aerial acrobatics which required me to develop an ability to perform and to work creatively. In 2007 I founded Aerial Edge, a circus school based in Scotland which I continue to develop with a great team of teachers and staff.
I've been fortunate enough to be able to work in these areas while living in and traveling to different countries. I've managed to increasingly free myself from being too location dependent so for a few months each year I can live, work and play somewhere new allowing me to find new experiences and learn new skills.
Circus has proven to be a great way to expand my experience and knowledge both personally and professionally. Developing Aerial Edge has allowed me to find new ways of working and to lead a team of people within the creative arts sector. I have been able to use concepts and tools from the world of technology to manage and develop the organisation.
Learning new skills within circus keeps me developing physically in new ways and brings me into contact with teachers, artists and organisers with new ideas that I can learn from. Many of the best ideas we've brought into Aerial Edge have come through learning from others and adapting their practices to fit our organisation. I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel and live with many talented artists and work with them in their own countries.
My interest is in developing circus training technique to ensure longevity of practice as well as shorter paths to developing higher skill. I have also specialised in circus rigging and safety, and consult with different organisations on how to bring acrobatic performance and aerial into their venues and shows.
My current role as the Global L&D Lead for Connect to Learn at Ericsson means that I am responsible for learning strategy and education technology development for a number social learning projects supporting around 140,000 students a year.
One of our challenges is to develop an ICT in Education programme to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 4: Quality education for all.
I have a particular interest in researching new technologies for learning development and with the explosion of cloud technologies easily available to assemble into exiting new education means that we have some great new opportunities ahead of us. The solutions I'm most excited about including are Machine Learning, AR/VR, and AI. The ease of combining these elements into scalable low maintenance modular services is very appealing.
I am currently running some research projects with a different serverless technologies looking at simple mobile database solutions, a serverless Learning Record Store and a learning content hosting service. Overall I am aiming towards an API/microservices approach to infrastructure development.
When it comes to developing education solutions my main interest is in user focused design and I have developed many solutions using this approach. I am currently evangelising a design thinking approach to solutions development.
Some of the more exciting new technologies we have been working with for some time now include a VR teacher training application, a simulation based game designed to teach telecommunications to technical graduates and mobile education applications focused on the prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation on for the World Childhood Foundation.